A falafel shop worker who was saved by a mortally wounded Ari Fuld said Friday that the terrorist deliberately targeted the American-Israeli and had repeatedly sought out someone “who spoke English” before launching his stabbing spree.
Security camera footage from the Gush Etzion Junction shopping mall on Sunday shows Fuld, fatally wounded and with blood pouring down his back, chasing and shooting his attacker 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin.
Jabarin was running after his next target, Hila Peretz, a woman who worked in a local falafel store, when Fuld and another Israeli civilian opened fire, preventing the continuation of the attack and moderately injuring the terrorist.
Peretz, who served Jabarin a falafel shortly before the attack, told The Times of Israel on Friday that Jabarin had wanted to target an American. “After he came inside and ordered his falafel, he asked me two separate times if I spoke English,” recalled Peretz.
“I told him ‘no,’ and asked him what it was that he wanted.”
Jabarin did not answer, but the falafel shop worker was convinced that the questions were part of the 17-year-old’s effort to determine his first target.
“It was not as if he didn’t speak Hebrew and had been asking to speak English so he could make his order. We carried out our conversation in Hebrew,” she explained.
“There were other people in the area that he could have targeted first, but he chose Ari,” she said. “But them he didn’t target, he must have wanted an American.”
Fuld, a 43-year-old father of four, was a native of Queens, New York, before emigrating to Israel.
Peretz highlighted how the security camera footage shows Jabarin pausing and waiting behind Fuld for nearly a minute as Fuld greeted several passersby.
כשהוא פצוע ומדמם: כך הציל ארי פולד עובדת בחנות מדקירת המחבל • לתיעוד המלא שהביאו Yossi Eli ושי שפיגלמן ולריאיון של Almaz Mangisto עם אלמנת הנרצח >> https://www.10.tv/news/172564
Posted by חדשות 10 on Monday, 17 September 2018
As for why Jabarin wanted an American, Peretz acknowledged that she could not know for sure. “I’m not sure what goes on in those Arab villages. They’re probably all riled up about Trump there or something,” she said.
The Trump administration has been denounced by the Palestinian leadership for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there. Since the Palestinian Authority has subsequently boycotted the US government, the American government has taken a number of steps, including cutting aid to the PA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem.
The White House has indicated those funds will remain withheld until the Palestinians re-engage with the administration to broker a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
On Thursday, the US justified the hospital funding cuts, including by pointing to the Palestinian Authority’s use of funds to pay terrorists, such as the PA’s declared plans to pay the family of Fuld’s killer.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said there was no reason for the US to fund the hospitals when it merely allowed the PA to free up money to support terrorists and their families.
The PA, she went on to say, has “failed to prioritize paying its debts and has instead put money into funding these payments to the families of terrorists.”
Recalling the moment of the attack itself, Peretz earlier in the week said she saw Jabarin “pull out this big knife that was glimmering in the sun, and plunged it into [Ari].”
Next, Peretz said Jabarin began to run toward her with the knife drawn. She ran for her life, shouting “terrorist,” she said.
“The terrorist was right behind me,” she told Israel’s Channel 10 TV news. “I started running down the stairs but he jumped to try to get in front of me. The man that was killed really saved my life.”
She added of Fuld: “He’s not just a hero. He gave his life for me.”
In an effort to “continue in Ari’s way,” the Fuld family returned Friday morning to the Gush Etzion Junction where the 45-year-old father of four was killed.
After paying a visit to Fuld’s grave in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, family, friends and supporters continued to the shopping center. There, they ate a breakfast together at one of the restaurants in the complex.
“We have grown and will continue to grow as a result of what has happened, and we will choose life,” Fuld’s father Yonah said in a video statement from the scene.
“We have learned great spiritual strengths from Ari’s life and death, and despite our private pain, we are filled with pride at Ari’s heroism and the way he chose to end his life.”
Fuld’s daughter Tamar said her family took great “pride” in returning to the place where Ari was killed.
“Dad would have wanted to show the world that this pride (of his) continues and is now part of us,” she said.
Jabarin, who is being treated in a Jerusalem hospital, was said Monday to be lightly injured by the gunfire from Fuld and the second Israeli civilian.
Fuld, a resident of nearby Efrat, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, but was declared dead shortly after.